M1 under construction

In 1959, Britain had never seen anything like it. Six lanes wide and grade separated for almost sixty miles, the M1 was a sign of things to come for a country still working its way out of the aftermath of the Second World War.

The photographs on this page showing the M1 as it was built appear courtesy of David Jones, who cycled out to the site as a schoolboy to take them. They have never been published before. They are not presented in date order, instead moving from early stages of construction to completion. In reality different structures and sections of road were finished at different times.

An anonymous contributor adds the following information:

"You might find the following interesting — it's a community history project website produced by a local school and contains a potted history of a section of the (old) A5, prior to the Milton Keynes Dual Carriageway section, which ran through what was the village of Loughton.

"We have lots of flyovers around Milton Keynes but the one referred to on this page was, as it says, constructed before MK was thought of and was apparently a prototype for M1 construction. M1 J14 is 3 miles away."

Routes
M1

Picture credits

  • All photographs on this page appear courtesy of David Jones.

With thanks to Mark Wilson for information on this page.

What's new

Imperfectly Odd: Batheaston Bypass

It has viaducts, a tunnel and plenty of controversy, but the amazing Batheaston Bypass doesn’t really work. What went wrong?

South London's lost motorways

Completing the story of London's epic Ringways, we've just published the Southern Radials, five more motorways that never saw the light of day.

To the north east!

Two new additions to our collection of Opening Booklets take us to Darlington and Middlesbrough.

Share this page

Have you seen...

M1-A1 Link Road

Those last few miles of the M1 east of Leeds were completed in 1999. It looks for the most part like a fairly average piece of road, but one of the project's engineers describes some of the challenges that were faced.

About this page

Published13 November 2019

Last updated13 November 2019